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Forum on Crime and Society

Special Issue - Researching Hidden Populations: Approaches to and Methodologies for Generating Data on Trafficking in Persons

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This issue of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime journal Forum on Crime and Society focuses on research related to trafficking in persons. It contains articles by a range of researchers and academics with experience in identifying 'hidden populations' such as trafficking victims. The articles present research methods and approaches that have been used with success to uncover 'hidden populations' in different contexts in the past. It is hoped that this edition of the Forum will stimulate the generation of more sound data on the different aspects of trafficking in persons worldwide.

English

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Extremely wanted: human trafficking statistics — what to do with the hodgepodge of numbers?

The total scale of human trafficking is still unknown. The existing estimates are frequently based on false or unfounded assumptions, insufficient and unreliable data and inadequate use of methodologies. Yet statistics on the scale of the problem are often used in political debates on, for instance, what policy on prostitution would be the most effective for combating sexual exploitation. Consequently, improper comparisons are made of the total scale of human trafficking in various countries. The authors of this article suggest a new perspective on the use of statistics on human trafficking in smaller settings. On the basis of research by the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children in the Netherlands, the authors discuss three ways in which statistics are of the utmost importance in the fight against human trafficking: in informing policy (evidence-based policy), in exposing bottlenecks on the basis of which suggestions can be made to introduce more efficient policies and as a starting point for further research providing answers to questions such as why certain aspects still seem to be underexposed in the fight against human trafficking.

English

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